Saturday, December 16

Avoid Gaining Weight in Winter

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Gaining weight during winter or in the cold months is a common complaint of a lot of people. It seems that come winter, we gain a few pounds, yet during summer we do not lose them all either. A measure of fat would always stick around, making us a bit heavier each year. Losing those extra pounds seems to be very difficult! What can we do to keep this from happening?

Let us look into the reasons why we gain weight during winter. There are several factors that make this happen. First, it is likely that humans have a genetic inclination to store more fat when the cold months approach. A lot of animals do this, too, for the survival of the species. Additional layers of fat protect the body against the cold temperature which can then be used as fuel during the late winter months to early spring when food supply would be very low. The nature of the body is designed to consume more in autumn, when food is bountiful after harvest time. Because of this we may tend to unconsciously take foods that have higher fat content at this time.

Hormone levels may also influence our weight gain. The way the hormones and other chemicals in the brain interact could produce changes in appetite and cravings. Some neurotransmitters could also influence our eating habits. Overweight individuals often have low levels of these neurotransmitters which could result in excessive appetite, sleep disorders, and depression. The lack of daylight caused by the shorter daytime on late fall and wintertime could also contribute to winter depression. One of the fastest ways to charge the energy levels and emotions is to eat foods that are high carbohydrate and sugar to give us the sugar ‘high’. Therefore, people who feel down during the winter have a tendency to overeat or consume the wrong foods, causing weight gain, further depression, and a vicious cycle that could turn into a bad habit which is going to be difficult to break.

There are a lot of reasons why we eat more of the high carbohydrate foods such as cookies, pastries and sweets in the winter — and naturally most of these types of foods contain high fat levels. The best way to manage this is basically to replace other foods that have enough carbohydrates but low fat content and high in fiber just to supply what the body craves. This food group includes wholegrain bread without butter, cereals, wholegrain rice, and fresh whole fruit.

It is also necessary to take on more physical activities or exercises. Generally our physical activity levels lessen during winter because we are inclined to prefer to stay home and relax. This is just natural especially when it is cold outside. But we are not cave dwellers any more! We have heating systems in our houses and we can be certain that there will still be enough of food in the stores any time during the year. We no longer need to store fat the way that our ancestors did. So, start moving. Enroll in a gym or get a treadmill or stationary bicycle  and head for the den. If not, then do some aero or a dance activity to lose some fat. Transform those carbohydrates into energy today rather than keeping it on your waistline until spring. This way, winter weight gain can easily be avoided.

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